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  • Spastic quadriplegia

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    Spastic quadriplegia, also known as spastic tetraplegia, is a subset of spastic cerebral palsy that affects all four limbs (both arms and legs). Compared to quadriplegia, spastic tetraplegia is defined by spasticity of the limbs as opposed to strict paralysis. It is distinguishable from other forms of cerebral palsy in that those afflicted with the condition display stiff, jerky movements stemming from hypertonia of the muscles. Spastic quadriplegia, while affecting all four limbs more or less equally, can still present parts of the body as stiffer than others, such as one arm being tighter than another arm, and so forth. Spastic triplegia, meanwhile, involves three limbs (such as one arm and two legs, or one leg and two arms, etc.); spastic diplegia affects two limbs (commonly just the legs), spastic hemiplegia affects one or another entire side of the body (left or right); and spastic monoplegia involves a single limb.

  • Transient ischemic attack

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    A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a brief episode of neurological dysfunction caused by loss of blood flow (ischemia) in the brain, spinal cord, or retina, without tissue death (infarction). TIAs have the same underlying mechanism as ischemic strokes. Both are caused by a disruption in blood flow to the brain, or cerebral blood flow (CBF). The definition of TIA was classically based on duration of neurological symptoms. The current widely-accepted definition is called "tissue-based" because it is based on imaging, not time. The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) now define TIA as a brief episode of neurological dysfunction with a vascular cause, with clinical symptoms typically lasting less than one hour, and without evidence of infarction on imaging. TIA causes the same symptoms associated with stroke, such as weakness or numbness on one side of the body. Numbness or weakness generally occur on the opposite side of the body from the affected hemisphere of the brain. A TIA may cause sudden dimming or loss of vision, difficulty speaking or understanding language, slurred speech, and confusion. TIA and ischemic stroke share a common cause. Both result from a disruption in blood flow to the central nervous system. In ischemic stroke, symptoms generally persist beyond 7 days. In TIA, symptoms typically resolve within 1 hour. The occurrence of a TIA is a risk factor for eventually having a stroke. Both are associated with increased risk of death or disability. Recognition that a TIA has occurred is an opportunity to start treatment, including medications and lifestyle changes, to prevent a stroke. While a TIA must by definition be associated with symptoms, a stroke may be symptomatic or silent. In silent stroke, also known as silent cerebral infarct (SCI), there is permanent infarction present on imaging, but there are no immediately observable symptoms. An SCI often occurs before or after a TIA or major stroke.

  • Myocardial infarction

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    Myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow decreases or stops to a part of the heart, causing damage to the heart muscle. The most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck, or jaw. Often it occurs in the center or left side of the chest and lasts for more than a few minutes. The discomfort may occasionally feel like heartburn. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling faint, a cold sweat, or feeling tired. About 30% of people have atypical symptoms. Women more often present without chest pain and instead have neck pain, arm pain, or feel tired. Among those over 75 years old, about 5% have had an MI with little or no history of symptoms. An MI may cause heart failure, an irregular heartbeat, cardiogenic shock, or cardiac arrest. Most MIs occur due to coronary artery disease. Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood cholesterol, poor diet, and excessive alcohol intake, among others. The complete blockage of a coronary artery caused by a rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque is usually the underlying mechanism of an MI. MIs are less commonly caused by coronary artery spasms, which may be due to cocaine, significant emotional stress, and extreme cold, among others. A number of tests are useful to help with diagnosis, including electrocardiograms (ECGs), blood tests, and coronary angiography. An ECG, which is a recording of the heart's electrical activity, may confirm an ST elevation MI (STEMI) if ST elevation is present. Commonly used blood tests include troponin and less often creatine kinase MB. Treatment of an MI is time-critical. Aspirin is an appropriate immediate treatment for a suspected MI. Nitroglycerin or opioids may be used to help with chest pain; however, they do not improve overall outcomes. Supplemental oxygen is recommended in those with low oxygen levels or shortness of breath. In a STEMI, treatments attempt to restore blood flow to the heart, and include percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), where the arteries are pushed open and may be stented, or thrombolysis, where the blockage is removed using medications. People who have a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) are often managed with the blood thinner heparin, with the additional use of PCI in those at high risk. In people with blockages of multiple coronary arteries and diabetes, coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) may be recommended rather than angioplasty. After an MI, lifestyle modifications, along with long term treatment with aspirin, beta blockers, and statins, are typically recommended. Worldwide, about 15.9 million myocardial infarctions occurred in 2015. More than 3 million people had an ST elevation MI and more than 4 million had an NSTEMI. STEMIs occur about twice as often in men as women. About one million people have an MI each year in the United States. In the developed world the risk of death in those who have had an STEMI is about 10%. Rates of MI for a given age have decreased globally between 1990 and 2010. In 2011, a MI was one of the top five most expensive conditions during inpatient hospitalizations in the US, with a cost of about $11.5 billion for 612,000 hospital stays.

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